Grief counselors were on hand at RHAM High School after a cheerleader about to enter her senior year was killed in an early Tuesday morning crash.
A 17-year-old year died after she was ejected from a vehicle that slammed into a tree while three other teenagers in the vehicle suffered minor injuries.
Connecticut State Police said a vehicle driven by 17-year-old Connor Mckee, of Hebron, was traveling north on West Street near the intersection of Martin Road when, for unknown reasons, it traveled off the side of the road.
It re-entered the roadway and was swerving out of control for nearly 250 feet before exiting the road again and slammed into a tree.
Paige Houston, 17, was in the back seat and was ejected from the vehicle when it hit the tree. State police said she was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene.
Mckee and two others, 16-year-old Andrew Burton, of Hebron, and 18-year-old Zachary Trapp, of Andover, were all wearing seatbelts and suffered minor injuries.
"I couldn't really sleep," said Xavier Doran, who added he saw Houston at a party Monday night. "I just didn't know how it could happen."
The crash is still under investigation and investigators are not yet saying if the driver will be charged.
While the investigation continues, Facebook and Twitter are full of condolences for Houston and her family with people saying heaven has gained a beautiful angel.
"She's so beautiful inside and out. Everyone's going to remember her," said friend Christin Fancher. "She's such a nice girl, and she's going to be missed."
A pink ribbon has been tied around the tree at the site of the deadly crash that bears Houston's name.
Flowers have also been placed at a makeshift memorial by mourners who arrived to pay their respects and try to come to terms with what happened.
"It's just hard," Fancher said. "She's so young and she shouldn't have died."
Mckee obtained his Connecticut-issued drivers in March 2013, according to Department of Motor Vehicle officials.
As a result, Mckee could not have passengers in the motor vehicle and was out past the curfew for drivers under 18 years old, which 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., DMV officials said.
"The law enacted by the legislature allowing young drivers to become better drivers before carrying passengers is working and has cut down on accidents tremendously," said state police Lt. Paul Vance. "But we encourage parents to police their children better."
Officials at RHAM High School said grief counselors will be made available Tuesday night for anyone needing to speak with someone about the crash. The counselors will be available from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Houston's coach said she was a shoo-in to become captain this year.
"She led by example and pushed through injuries to encourage others to work hard and try their best," said RHAM High School Cheerleading Coach Christina Glass in an email to WFSB Tuesday. "She will be greatly missed by myself and our team. Her spot on the team will never be filled."
School officials said students are planning to held a prayer vigil at RHAM High School at 9 p.m.
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